||Portuguese Federation / April 2012|
- Contributor: Jose Antonio Silva Araujo, Sintra Branch Master
XXII Portuguese National Taikai
The last two months were a landmark in the history of Shorinji Kempo in Portugal.
On 11th March it was held the XXII National Taikai which also marked the 10th anniversary of the foundation of Salvaterra de Magos Association with its' two branches (Foros de Salvaterra e Salvaterra de Magos).
The Taikai was initiated with a celebration of the Japanese nation's recovery from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, precisely one year before on 11th March 2011. One minute of silence was held in memory of the more than 19.000 lost souls. This moment occurred during the morning for the children's Taikai as well as during the afternoon for the adults' Taikai, which culminated with a huge round of applause from all the people at the Salvaterra de Magos sports center. Many participants (kenshis, judges, organizers and others) also chose to pay a more individual homage to the Japanese people with a black ribbon around their arms.
The national Taikai started in 1990 and it's one of the Portuguese season's highlights where several aspects of this year's event should be recognized. For this Taikai a record was established with around 160 participants in competition, of which around 90 were children! This Taikai ranged from 4/5 to 67 years old, between Minarais and 2o Dan grades, and with a distribution of men and women very balanced (in Portugal the women's participation in martial arts is only now becoming more common and Shorinji Kempo is one of the most balanced martial arts in this regard). This amount of participants led the organization to arrange for two areas where all categories demonstrated their work and effort of the past months. To ensure a good experience for all participants, the event was separated in two moments: the children's Taikai in the morning and the adults' in the afternoon.
The 16 judges had a hard day with lots of kumi embu, dan tai embu, and solo embu to evaluate. They graded several works with very good marks, which congratulate the work of masters, instructors and students, as it also raises hope and expectation that these participants wish and put their efforts to contribute to the dissemination of our art throughout all Portugal.
Counting the Taikai participants, the judges' body, and the organization staff, this event involved around 200 people and a full house attendance at the sports center to support and applaud for all kenshis. The Portuguese federation is very proud of this accomplishment and collective effort, which supported the success of this Taikai and reveals that Shorinji Kempo is consistently growing in Portugal.
The Taikai ended with a dance demonstration of MC Company's dancers from the Salvaterra de Magos Sports Group, and with a demonstration of branch masters and their students. This final demonstration presented tanto waza, idori waza, kumi embu, kyusho waza, and multiple attackers' situations.